Stanley “Stan” Robert Rutka, 93, of Virginia, MN, and former resident of Greaney, MN., passed away on Sunday, September 22, 2019.

Stanley was born to Stanley Joseph and Mary Agnes (Krall) Rutka on May 5, 1926 in Duluth, Minnesota. Stan grew up and attended school in Orr, MN; graduating Orr High School in (1944)

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Stanley was destined to be a great musician from the start. He began his musical career at the age of 9 on a little 24 bass accordion his father bought him for Christmas. He learned quite a few songs by ear so his dad took him to Buhl, Minnesota for lessons from Henry Staffaroni. At the age of 15, his dad sent him to New York City to study with the Master at the time, Pietro Deiro. At the age of 18, Stan joined the United States Navy, serving honorably for 2 years during WWII. After his service in the Navy he went to San Bernardino, California where he joined an 11-piece Country Western band headed by Tennessee Ernie Ford. He was with them for two years, then went to Denver, Colorado to study at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music. He played many Saturday night radio broadcasts of KOA in the mid 60’s and spent over 40 years in Denver playing radio, TV and country clubs. He played back up music for many stars including Ernie Ford, Rex Allen, Frank Yankovic, Lefty Frizzel and others. Stan has written and published many accordion songs and taught many students while in Denver. He was inducted into the Colorado Polka Hall of Fame in 1979. Stanley was blessed with two loving marriages: in 1949 he was united in marriage to Lucille Goodin and was blessed with 4 children. Sadly, Lucille passed away in 1996. He then met and married Dorothy Egger and became part of her family. Stanley’s love of Northern Minnesota compelled him to move back to Greaney, MN in 1987 where he lived for many years before moving to Virginia, MN. He continued to teach music, play in clubs, nursing homes and weddings for many years. On top of being an amazing musician, Stan was a very skilled woodworker. He spent a lot of his time in his wood shop creating custom models and crafts. He enjoyed traveling with Dorothy to many craft shows. Stan was preceded in death by his wives: Lucille Rutka (1996) and Dorothy Egger (2014); sons: Robert (2003), Randy (2011), and Richard (2014); brother, William Rutka; sisters: Mary (at birth); Margaret Prepodnik, and Delores Hagen. Stan is survived by his daughter Roxanna Wise of Colorado;; Dorothy’s daughters’s Carol Egger of Gilbert, MN , Kathy Novakovich of Gilbert, MN, Nancy Leek of Ohio, and Linda Flack of Cook MN, and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

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A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 1:00PM at Mlaker Funeral Home, Cook, MN. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Military honors will be accorded by: Cook VFW Post #1757 Honor Guard and the Orr American Legion Post#480 Honor Guard. To leave an online condolence visit www.mlakerfuneralhome.com.

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